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Making Good On Yearly Goals

June 29, 2012

Goals. I have come up with goals for almost every fiscal year I have been an employee, apart from my first two jobs. Not much need for goal setting when I was a paper boy at the Islander News or behind the counter at Bristol’s Camera on Key Biscayne. But goals have been very important at NetObjects, Microsoft, and now OpenText. The process for keeping up with those goals, no matter where I worked, has always been a bit nebulous. Goals were defined at the beginning of the year, then evaluated at the end. What happened in the 11 months in between was up to the employee. And usually balls got dropped.

Well, thats not quite true. Actually new balls got added to the mix. Fire drills caused slippage of the original goals to focus on new things. Goals should be specific and measurable, but not so specific that they cannot be changed and still recognizable. 

Today is the last day of the Fiscal Year for me and I can say without a doubt that it’s been my best year yet. The reasons are simple: I came up with better goals, and I reviewed those goals, and my progress against them, every 2 weeks. Sometimes I did it even more often, but two weeks was the maximum amount of time that went by without a goal check. 

Now I have tried to do this exact thing in the past, but it always required looking at a spreadsheet or a document to figure out where I am. This time however I had a fantastic tool to help me out: Goalscape. Now I should probably state up front that this look back at my year with Goalscape was not in any way requested by Goalscape. That said, in exchange for my first review a year ago, they did give me a free license. 

The image above is my Goalscape plan for FY2012. Most of the diagram are my official goals that were defined at the beginning of the year. Basically my goals fell into 4 buckets: training, videos, blogging, and In this chart, the darker grey is complete and the light grey is incomplete. As you can see I kicked ass this year. But looking at this, you might think that my goals were a little too specific. Actually my goals for the year in the official document looked more like this:

By clicking those two arrows at the top of the diagram I can show more or less detail. So I told my manager I would be creating 16 videos, 20 blog posts, train 120 students across 25 classes, and launch a new site for sharing videos. Right away, I split those goals up into each quarter, resulting in 4 videos and 5 blogs per quarter. After each was complete and online, I updated each blog or video goal to show the name and to mark that portion of the goal complete. Some quarters I did more videos than others, but in the end, I got my 16 videos. Actually I was closer to about 50 videos, but 16 was what mattered.

So every couple of weeks I produced a little Powerpoint deck for my manager with screenshots from Goalscape. It allowed both of us to see how far along on those original goals I had gone. I don’t think she needed all of these details, but it helped me and it kept reminding her how awesome I am (just in case there was any doubt).

A little ways into the year, I added the Extra Things goal to help me record the other things that I did. All of this would come together in about a month when it is time to write my annual review. Rather than spending more time describing the product, let me just show you with a short video.

Do you use Goalscape? Do you use something else? Share your comments below.

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